Arab league 298.88 AP.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to announce whether he will agree to indirect “proximity” talks with Israel following a meeting of the Arab League Wednesday in Cairo.
Israel is watching the meeting of the Arab League’s follow-up committee to the Arab Initiative carefully, not quite certain whether Abbas is looking for a green light from key Arab states to reenter the negotiations, or whether he wants to use a lack of unanimity among the 13 foreign ministers expected to attend the meeting as a fig leaf to stay out of the talks.
To a certain extent, one government official said, this is Abbas’s moment of truth, when he will have to reveal his hand – although it is not clear exactly when he will make an announcement.
Abbas has come under intensive pressure from the US and EU in recent weeks to enter the talks, and has also been strongly encouraged by Egypt and Jordan to do so as well. It is expected, however, that states like Syria and Libya will call on the PA not to return to negotiations.
Since Abbas has said repeatedly that he will not renew talks with Israel until there is a complete settlement halt, including in east Jerusalem, he is believed to need an umbrella from the Arab world to enter the negotiations even though Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has declared he will not completely stop all settlement construction.
In recent weeks, Abbas has told numerous interlocutors with whom he has
met around the world that he needs to get the approval of the Arab
League before agreeing to resume talks.
Abbas met in Cairo Tuesday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in advance of Wednesday’s meeting.